Monday, April 28, 2014

This Year's Garden

I've made an executive decision: I'm going for a flowers-only garden this year. I might try to grow some cherry tomatoes in a container, but that will be the extent of the veggie gardening.

The spot where I grew veggies is sunny and perfect for some of my favorite flowers. The front yard is shady, which has its limitations. I've been drooling over those gorgeous purple alliums for years. They're my first choice. Close behind are zinnias, petunias, and flowers I can cut for bouquets.

My writing dreams also go through changes. I'm working on the last book of The Moses Conspiracy trilogy. Although I'm only at 40,000 words, I'm contemplating my next project. Shall I do a series of short stories in the same vein or go into a completely different genre? The 1950's hold a special fascination, as well as Colonial times.

Non-fiction is my first love, and I have tons of material in my files that I'd love to use. I'm still praying as I work on my current book.

Deciding what to grow was easy compared to deciding what to write next.

Writers: How do you decide what project you'll tackle next?

Readers:  Veggies or flowers or both? Do you have any suggestions as to what you'd like to see come from my pen?

Photo Credit:  MEJones

Friday, April 25, 2014

On My Nightstand - Captured by Moonlight by Christine Lindsay

When Laine Harkness helps her friend, Eshana, rescue a young girl, they both get into hot water. They hightail it out of town, hoping things will cool off and enable them to return someday.

Things go from bad to horrific when Eshana's family captures her, and she's once again enslaved. Without a way to communicate with her friends, hope dims.

Laine is unaware of her friend's situation, and reports for duty at a medical mission compound in a remote region. The night she arrives, she comes face-to-face with someone from her past.

This love story set in India during the British Colonial period riveted me. The backdrop and cultural details showed the depth of the author's research and enriched the reading experience.

I'm loathe to describe these people as characters. Each one's distinctive personality and dilemma rang true. It seemed more like a biography than a novel.

Captured by Moonlight gets 5 Stars. I loved it!

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment for this review. I purchased this book for my Kindle with my own hard-earned bucks. :)

Writers and Readers:  What new-to-you authors have you discovered lately? What made you enjoy their books?

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Benefits of Blog Subscription

Once I signed up for email notifications on several blogs, I never looked at my Blogger reader again. Here are some of the benefits:

1.  Time Saver - This is HUGE! I no longer have to think about what blogs I want to visit. The latest posts are right there in my email with the subject drawing me into the content.

2.  Reminder - With so much great information available, I can keep the important stuff at my fingertips. I don't have to Google it or research a subject multiple times.

3.  Industry Updates - I can stay on top of publishing news/tips with Edie Melson, Jeff Goins, the Positive Writer, Blogging Bistro, and so many others.

4.  Staying Connected - With all the social media out there, this is the way I stay connected to the blogosphere. I don't have to guess when a new post will appear. It's delivered to me personally.

5.  Keeping in Touch with Old Friends and Making New Ones - It's easy to drift around the Net without much direction. Subscribing to blogs helps fine tune my focus.

Writers and Readers: What's your opinion on subscribing to blogs? Yay or nay? Please give your reasons.

Photo Credit:  Pulpdtp

Friday, April 18, 2014

Surfing the Net

With summer drawing near, I decided to go with a Surfing-the-Net theme this week. I love hopping from one blog to another. I'll see a great comment in one place, and pop over to see the author's site. Here are some of my recent discoveries.

1.  Marlene Bagnull, head of the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, guest posted at Elaine Stock's blog recently. How does one become the head of such a huge venture? Marlene shares her story.

2.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, gives tips on getting more blog comments.

3.  Multi-published author, Gail Gaymer Martin, talks about plot twists.

Question for Writers:  With writers' conferences approaching, do you plan to attend one?

Readers:  Do you enjoy blog hopping? How do you find new blogs?

Photo Credit:  TheSwedish

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Grateful Heart

We recently said goodbye to the first quarter of 2014. I'm not sorry to see it become history. Yet, as I traveled a difficult path, God provided every need down to the smallest detail.

So, instead of bemoaning negative events, this post is about a heart of gratitude.

-  I'm grateful that my Mom's recovery from a broken hip has exceeded the doctors' expectations. She didn't need a hip replacement and eventually won't need a walker.

-  I'm grateful for the prayers of family and friends that carried us through the ordeal.

-  I'm grateful for the answers to prayer:

   The major snowstorm taking a detour.

   The rides from a friend and my stepson to the hospital, so I wouldn't have to move my car and lose my parking space. I live on a snow emergency route, and parking is a nightmare when a storm is expected.

   The timing and smooth transitions from hospital to home.

-  I'm grateful for the strength to be there for my Mom.

-  I'm grateful for the financial provision to pay for pricey heating oil.

-  I'm grateful for a publisher that stood by me and encouraged me to "put family first."

-  Most of all, I'm grateful for the peace of God that brought rest and comfort to my heart.

Writers and Readers:  What are you thankful for today?

Photo Credit:  Everywhere

Friday, April 11, 2014

Weekend Digest

1.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, gives us ideas on where to find the words that will best communicate our ideas.

2.  To my mind, editing and enjoyment are oxymorons. The Positive Writer seeks to show us ways to make it less of a chore and more of a delight.

3.  With Spring here, we'll soon be celebrating graduations, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and visiting friends. My blogger friend, Susan, at Writing Straight From The Heart, posted this easy recipe. I thought you might like to check it out.

Writers and Readers:  What are some of your favorite recipes for special events?

Photo Credit: emperador

Monday, April 7, 2014

Social Media and Sales

Does Social Media participation translate into sales?

If you have any doubts, look at the number of authors, celebrities, political figures, etc. on Facebook, Twitter, and other venues. What advantages does Social Media provide?

1.  Visibility - If people don't know about us and our books, how can they make a decision to purchase? They're no longer limited to print/radio/TV advertising. The Internet has made it possible to reach a bigger audience than any other time in history.

2.  Relationship -  I like getting to know other authors. When I was a baseball fan, hearing about an athlete's family and faith made me care about his performance on the field and the team's progress toward the World Series. As I've entered the publishing world, the friendships and successes of others inspire me to read their works.

Numerous people have said they purchased my books because they know me. Of course, I'd better deliver a good read if I want their continued support.

3.  Interaction - Social Media has not only made it possible to follow other authors, but also to interact with them. I can comment on their posts, ask them questions, and pray for them when they're going through tough times.

Recently, a fellow author and reader contacted me and said she purchased all 3 of my books on Amazon as a result of my Facebook posts. Others rely on my author page for news about releases and upcoming projects.

Does Social Media participation translate into sales? You bet it does!

Writers and Readers: How has Social Media impacted your career/book-buying decisions?

Photo Credit:  cieleke

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Bump in the Road

We all have times when we want to throw our hands in the air and give up. I'm thankful for bloggers, who cheer us on and tell us we'll get over this bump in the road. Here are a few links that spoke to me during one such time.

1.  MaryAnn Diorio encourages us to live the fiction writing life by faith.

2.  Jennifer Brown Banks, at Pen and Prosper, gives a whole new spin to Spring Cleaning.

3.  Rhonda Schrock shares about living Care-Free.

Writers and Readers:  Have blogs spoken to your heart during stressful times? Please share.

Photo Credit:  biztech